We are often asked to recommend and review types of tyres for winter driving.
That’s not always as easy as it might sound because there’s a massive choice out there, it’ll depend on the motorist’s usual mileage and, often, where they live.
I’m not talking about brand names here – we don’t have any deals going on with tyre manufacturers so we can be truly independent.
We’re fussy about the garages we work with of course! Please note we run a network of FOXY Lady Approved tyre centres where women (and men) can rely on not being overcharged or sold services they don’t need.
About Winter Tyres
Winter tyres are recommended in temperatures below 7°C or if you drive in Europe on the likes of a winter-sports holiday or in mountainous terrain. They will increase your safety and make driving less risky and scary in wet, icy and snowy conditions.
Winter tyres use a different rubber compound to summer tyres. As such they don’t harden in colder weather so you enjoy better grip, shorter stopping distances and, let’s face it, less chance of having an accident in the winter.
The downside is that you’ll need two sets of tyres, which is likely to be too expensive if you don’t drive a lot and/or can cadge lifts and leave the car at home until temperatures rise.
Different tyre centres offer different customer services. Some operate trendy titled ‘Tyre Hotels’ where you get your winter tyres fitted in October and they store your summer tyres for you until you change them back in March. And so on.
But probably the better as well as cheaper model, space permitting at home or in a garage, is to take your summer tyres home with you in October and your winter ones in the summer.
For example Micheldever Tyres, who own the Protyre garage group, give you smart tyre carriers so they’re easy and clean to carry and store.
About All Season Tyres
As the name implies, all season tyres are a combination of summer and winter tyres. They are recommended for motorists who live in particularly wet and cold weather conditions, all year round.
So if you’re short of storage space and don’t fancy the hassle of changing tyres twice a year, all season tyres may appeal more than winter tyres.
The downside is, they don’t perform as well as winter tyres in harsh conditions when you need them most. But they do better than normal tyres in cases where you’d aquaplane otherwise.
“You pays your money…”
About Runflat Tyres
An added consideration is if your car has runflats or a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). In this instance a light on your dashboard tells you when a tyre pressure level is of concern and you might have a puncture.
At which stage you can either top up an offending tyre, there and then, or know you have a range of 50 miles (at a speed of no more than 50mph just in case) to get to a garage to verify or rectify matters.
This is very reassuring for me, on a motorway, for example. In my case I don’t have a choice because runflats are compulsory for BMWs and MINIs.
But the good news is that if you have a TPMS on a car that doesn’t specify runflats you can now buy Bridgestone DriveGuard tyres with the same properties and reassuring benefits as runflats.
NB: In this instance, I’m talking about a runflat as an ordinary tyre ie neither an all season nor a winter tyre. You can’t mix them with ordinary tyres, it’s to be all four or none, but you don’t need to carry a spare wheel or know how to use a puncture repair canister (see FOXY’s earlier blog about this).
The downside is that they can be quite a bit more expensive than ordinary tyres.
Conclusions about Tyres in Winter
FOXY tells Club members to buy the best tyres they can afford. If you don’t do much mileage then budget tyres will likely do nicely. If you ply motorways as I do, then you want the best premium (well known) brands as their tyres will last longer.
Remember that you get what you pay for re tyres. And NEVER EVER buy cheap part worn tyres because you don’t know where they’ve been.
Hopefully this blog will help you decide what’s best for you when considering having winter or all season tyres fitted. And if you’re a Club member you can always ask us for a second opinion.
By all means let us know what you decide and your tyre shopping experiences via Twitter and @FOXYSteph or @FOXYTweets.
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